Adding variety to your beauty regime

A basic beauty regime consists of the use of multiple products, and most skin care brands tap into this phenomenon by producing entire sets of products, complete with sequences. While some people are brand loyal, not everyone uses products from the same product line.

I for one, enjoy trying out products from different brands, because some brands are particularly good with certain products but not others, and certain products come cheap but are equally effective from other brands. Taiwanese programme 女人我最大 often introduces top selling products in Taiwan which are known to be highly effective and reasonably cheap if purchased online. Some of the brands are not even mainstream. Yet that shouldn't stop you from trying something new or incorporating it into your beauty regime. If I had stubbornly insisted on one of my most often-used brands Loreal, I would never have discovered the miracle which is BB Cream, for it was invented by the Korean skincare companies.

However products from different brands and product lines are not specifically made to complement each other. Using them inappropriately may render a product ineffective, or worst, cause skin damage.

There are some basic principles one should follow when using different products from different brands.

1. Do not use products with similar functions simultaneously
Many people believe that if they use two whitening products together, for example, they will experience an increased intensity of whitening effect. This is not true. Because these products consist of similar chemical compositions and produce similar reactions, they may cancel out or neutralize each other when used together, hence reducing the products’ effects instead. Furthermore, there’s a limit to the skin’s absorption power. Too much may result in rejection.

2. Follow a sequence
Regardless of product brands and type, there’s a sequence of application that you should follow after cleansing and toning your face: Essences > Gelatin (Gels) > Milk > Creams > Oil-based products.

Going down the list, you’ll realize that the composition of the products at the further end consist of larger molecules and have greater moisturizing properties. Applying them last will create a protective layer over your face.

On the other hand, products on the other hand are made of smaller liquid molecules which would be difficult to absorb if applied over that protective layer, much less produce any effects.

3. Sensitive Skin

It’s perfectly all right to use products from different brands, but take care to choose products that have soothing and stabilizing properties.

Romantic makeovers for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is just round the corner but honestly, I haven’t had time to plan my look for the big day. But I’ve got 3 fail-proof make-up themes up my sleeve which are lovely and alluring and at the same time, not over-the-top. If you’re out of ideas on how to do your make-up, there’s bound to be at least one that should suit you! These looks are easy to create and go with any regular hairdo, be it straight or curly, short or long. They’re great for those who take ages to dress up for a date!

Sweet Princess
Use a soft and sweet make-up scheme to look lovable and princessy! This is suitable for the younger crowd or ladies who like the fresh-faced look but do not want to look bland.

The crux to keeping your look soft is to use sheer and muted colours, and avoid excessive makeup on any facial feature or part of your face. Pink is a great colour theme that is not only the universally acclaimed colour for sweetness but also matches the romantic mood! When choosing the shade of pink for your blush and lip stick/ lip gloss, get the shade of pink that suits your skin tone best.

To create the look, curl your lashes and apply black or brown mascara. Be sure not to use too much. We’re not going for a dramatic look. Keep it sweet and simple. After you’ve applied all your base make-up, use your make-up brush and tap a thin layer of sheer pink blush over your cheekbones. This should give your cheeks a neutral pink and resembles a natural glow. Add pink lip gloss to your lips and that’s it!

You can complete the look with a feminine dress. If you have long straight hair, style it with lucido-l's hair curling wax to get long wavy hair. If you have long bangs, you can pull your hair back into an elegant bun, leaving your bangs out. If you have straight and short hair, you can use some floral hair accessories to accessorize it.

Sexy Diva
This look places great emphasis on your eye make-up. Long fluttery eyelashes are your friend, but unfortunately, not many of us are blessed with beautiful eyelashes. So it’s time to make a trip to the beauty store to get a set of false eyelashes and clear eyelash adhesive. My personal recommendation is Shu Uemura. They have really nice girly long lashes. Mind you don’t choose the ones with jewels, coloured feathers, cobwebs or whatnots that are meant for parties. Remember, not everybody can pull off the dramatic look, and you’ll need to carefully coordinate your outfits if you do want to be over the top.

Now even if it’s going to be obvious that you don’t usually have such long eyelashes, you wouldn’t want ‘falsies!’ to be the first thought that strucks your date, so do take great care to attach your lashes in such away that they will look natural. First, line your eyes with eyeliner. Then apply mascara to your natural lashes. Then spread the adhesive evenly over the underside of the part of the lash that’s not facing out. Be careful not to let the glue clump together. Gently piggyback the lash onto your natural lashes, starting from the outer corner, and then gently lowering it down the middle and to the end. Dust a sheer layer of shimmer shadow to your lids. Choose muted tones like grey and brown, nothing too bright or too dark.

Dress up your cheeks with a sheer blush. Pale pink would be my recommendation. Just be wary to keep it subtle. For the lipstick, use rich colours like deep red or rich brown. For the fun of it, you can add a beauty mark near your lips ala Marilyn Monroe. Just dip your tiniest brush into black or brown liquid eyeliner and make a little dot where you want the mark to be. When it dries, dab a little powder over the mark so it will stay.

Smouldering eyes
This make-up scheme is also centred on the eyes, though with more emphasis on your eyelids, where you will use eye shadow to achieve the smouldering eye effect. Unlike smokey eyes, which involves the liberal use of dark shadow to cover your lids, smouldering eyes calls for the smudging of eyeshadow at the ends of your eyes to soften your look while accentuating your eyes. Use a pale shadow on your lid, preferably of neutral colour or close to your skin tone, and smudge smouldering charcoal on the corner ends of your eyes. For best results, apply the charcoal using a chiselled fluff brush or shadow crease brush. For a more dramatic effect, you can add a little smouldering charcoal under your eyes.

Next, apply mascara. If you can spare the time, get your eyebrows groomed into an elegant arch. For your lips, use a matte lipstick. Red or earth tones are good colours. Generally, most colours are fine, but bright colours like orange and pink will not go well with your eye makeup. Avoid gloss and bright colours as shimmers and brightness just don’t go together with smouldering eye make up.

Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day!

Beauty Beyond the Stars III

I'm back with the commentaries on the remaining five zodiac signs!

Scorpios: The Analytical Consumer

Skeptics by nature, Scorpios take great care to construct a protective wall over the precious visage. Lies and exaggerations from desperate sales people fall flat in front of their sharp ears, for Scorpios have a natural flair for distinguishing between genuine advice and empty claims. They are well aware of what they need and how to ascertain whether a product will suit their needs. If you want to go shopping, a Scorpio companion would be an asset!

Sagittarius: The Fun Loving Free Spirit

The Sagittarius is happy-go-lucky and contented with what she has, as long as she’s happy. That includes her appearances as well. Unless it’s a necessity, Sagittarius don’t put in effort to beautify themselves for the sake of their image. They only usually do it because they think it’s fun and intriguing. That’s why while some Sagittarius ladies like going out bare-faced, there are others who spare no expense at make-up, simply because they enjoy it. The Sagittarius also tends to be fickle and loses focus easily.

Tips: Your energy and sunshine personality is your greatest asset, but don’t forget the sunblock when you go out and play. UV Rays from the sun is harmful to your skin!

Aries: The Career Woman

The Aries always carries herself with grace and maturity and is organized and serious in her work. Her make-up is usually basic and bland, serving the mere purpose of formalities at work. For the Aries, self-grooming is merely for enhancing her image for work purposes.

Tips: Learn to appreciate and have fun with your beauty regimes. Only then can you get the best out of it. Occasionally, you should also try something different. It would be a nice surprise for you and everyone around you!

Aquarius: Dare to be Different

The Aquarius beauty is talented and enjoys showing herself to be so. Independent and confident, she enjoys investing her beauty regime on fancy hairdos and having a different look on a regular basis. Unique and independent brands interest her as the Aquarius dislikes going with the flow.

Tips: Things are usually popular for good reason. It’s good to switch to mainstream some times.

Pisces: Effects are important, acknowledgements even more so

The Pisces beauty is sensitive and is easily affected by criticism and compliments. She is willing to invest a lot of time and money on her beauty regime and responds quickly to others’ feedback. If someone expresses disapproval, she is quick to alter her beauty habits.

Tips: Less self-consciousness and more confidence will make you a happier and more beautiful person.

And this concludes the end of the horoscope series! I hope everyone gained some new insights from reading this! Chinese New Year is just round the corner, so here's wishing everyone joy with your preparations and a prosperous year of the Rabbit!